Induction: Tough Enough 2011 – Developmental Disorder

53 Submitted by on Thu, 25 June 2015, 20:00

WWE, 2011

By the time you read this, the cast of the new Tough Enough will have been selected, the first episode will have aired, and Hank will have been eliminated.


The abysmal success rate of Tough Enough over the years should be a hint that the whole Tough Enough format — where WWE picks a handful of youngsters with little to no ring experience, assumes that one or two of them will become legitimate Superstars, and eliminates competitors on a weekly basis before they can complete their training — is a pretty crappy way to develop talent.

The fact that most of the show’s biggest successes have been the losers, like Miz, Matt Morgan, and Ryback, while winners like Daniel Puder, Jackie Gayda, and Linda Miles have flopped like Austin Steele should also clue the viewers in to how important victory is. And as minuscule as those Tough Enough winners’ legacies are, at least they made it on to television.

Yet WWE’s decision to revive Tough Enough once again makes perfect sense for the company. With WWE being the only major wrestling promotion in the country, a spot on its roster being the #1 goal for most every American wrestler, and its critically-acclaimed developmental league NXT preparing dozens of the world’s best indie wrestlers for the big time, the company needs to train and promote two unknowns with no wrestling experience to the main roster more than ever. And if you believe that, I have a bridge I’d like to sell you.


No, Jeremiah. That’s a dental plate, not a bridge.

If you need further proof of how useless the Tough Enough concept is, just take a look back at the last time WWE produced a season of the reality show, back in 2011.


The show’s problems were apparent right from the beginning, starting with the music. Instead of the generic early-2000s rock that plagued the original Tough Enough run, the revival featured generic early-2010s pop, complete with auto-tuned vocals and guest rappers in the show’s insufferable theme song. Not only do the singers of the theme song sound like Stone Cold could kick both their asses at the same time, they sound like Stone Cold should kick both their asses at the same time. You’d be hard pressed to find a more irrita’in’ reali’y TV theme. toughenough97 
toughenough04  Another odd choice: the “Tough Enough” belts. This may have been a WWE show, but it certainly seemed like TNA came up with the premise: instead of trying to earn a trophy at the end of the competition, the Tough Enough contestants were each given a championship belt right at the outset, with their ultimate goal being to not lose it.
Call it a Reverse Title Chase. toughenough05
toughenough06 As per usual, the Tough Enough contestants moved into a house as luxurious as Roman Reigns’s hair.
Every week featured a “life lesson” taught in the form of a challenge event that rarely had anything to do with wrestling and everything to do with dumb reality television tropes. These ranged from cheerleading… toughenough07
toughenough08 …to midget basketball…
…to waitressing on roller skates. toughenough09 
toughenough10a This would lead to the trainers judging with a straight face each contestant’s performance in the week’s gag challenge.
toughenough10c toughenough10b
Those judges included the host Stone Cold Steve Austin, as well as Booker T, Bill DeMott, and Trish Stratus.

(pictured here in a Misfits in Action reunion, featuring Trish as a talented version of Major Gunns)


There were also skills challenges, the very first of which was for each contestant to run the ropes for three minutes, presumably with the first prize being a match on Saturday Morning Slam.
Laugh all you want (please), but these challenges truly separated the people who could run the ropes for three minutes from the people who could not run the ropes for three minutes. toughenough13 
toughenough14  At the end of every episode, the three worst contestants were lined up in the ring alone with Stone Cold and asked trick questions like, “Why are you in the bottom three?”. Much like when a police officer asks you why he pulled you over, there is never any good way to answer that question.
Another favorite trick question of Steve’s was “Were you trying your best?” Say no, and you have no passion. toughenough15 
toughenough16 Say yes, and it means your best still sucks.
Or what about, “Why shouldn’t you be eliminated?” Whatever you do, don’t answer this way, especially if you look like Toby Flenderson: toughenough17
toughenough19 This is why we have the Fifth Amendment, people. For the 2015 season, contestants should have their attorneys present before answering any questions.
You know what wasn’t a trick question? “What’s your favorite match?” Yet Ariane still managed to screw up big time with her response, which has to be heard to be believed. toughenough20 art0donnell
toughenough21  Ariane’s obvious lack of product knowledge sealed her fate, and she was kicked off the show after only a few days of training. “You’ll still see me in the WWE,” she mouthed off on her way out. And we laughed and laughed. Little did we know that the joke would be on anyone who took this TV show seriously.
Matt Cross, an experienced indie wrestler, was the second contestant eliminated when he failed to attempt any of his famed fancy aerial moves. Of course, if he had actually done his flippy moves, the trainers would have been on his case for being an unsafe little show-off.

What exactly Matt was supposed to be doing during the tackle, drop-down, and body slam drills was never elaborated upon.

toughenough23 Just ask former tag team partner Teddy Hart.
Or better yet, just ask Tough Enough’s own Jeremiah Riggs. toughenough24b toughenough24

“In other news, WCW castaway Steve Austin was released by the WWF yesterday for calling Brother Love a mealy-mouthed son of a bitch live on the air. What an idiot.”


“There’s a million mechanics out there, but there’s only a few superstars,” said Stone Cold about Matt, perhaps forgetting that he was hired by the WWF in the first place to be a mechanic and not a superstar, and that if he had started flipping people off, cursing like a sailor, and drinking beer in his first promo, he would have been fired on the spot. And that was long before the company was micro-managed by a creative team larger than most battle royals.
It wasn’t just Matt who ran afoul of the damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don’t paradox; at various times, competitors were chastised for showing no creativity, for showing creativity… toughenough26
toughenough27 …for stopping after blown spots, and for ad-libbing after blown spots.
On the plus side, we got to hear Stone Cold not only speak French, but say the word, “pizzazz.” Can you imagine how much more marketable to children Austin could have been if he had only told his opponents he’d open up a can of pizzazz? toughenough28
toughenough29 One quality of a prospective superstar that everyone could agree on was the willingness to continue wrestling after crapping one’s pants.
After Stone Cold tried to teach the contestants about passion with an anecdote about continuing a match despite Yokozuna literally beating the crap out of him, former America’s Top Model contestant Michelle told an incredulous Austin that she too would have kept wrestling if she had crapped her pants. Fortunately, Austin didn’t put this to the test in another “life lesson” challenge. toughenough30 
 toughenough31 While she was never forced to wrestle after crapping her pants, Michelle left the show the third week to spend time with her children.
While crapping one’s pants is a good thing, crapping in the contestants’ oatmeal is frowned upon… toughenough32
toughenough33 …as is pissing in Bill DeMott’s Cheerios. As a rule, you shouldn’t relieve yourself in anyone’s food, breakfast or otherwise.
Another contestant was Eric Watts – no relation to Erik Watts of Tekno Team 2000, or famed promoter Bill Watts. Obviously, no one got on this show because of who their family was. toughenough34 art0donnell
toughenough35 Alicia Fox’s sister, Christina Crawford, was another contestant.
So was Dan Spivey’s cousin, Andy Leavine. toughenough36
toughenough37  In the first season of Tough Enough, only applicants with no wrestling experience were considered for the contest. In the 2011 version of Tough Enough, veteran wrestlers like Matt Cross, who had already wrestled on MTV’s Wrestling Society X, were allowed on the show. So what exactly was it that defined the contestants as rookies? Simply the fact that they had never been signed by WWE?
Not even that, as both Andy and Christina were already signed to WWE Developmental deals, which they had to temporarily give up as a formality to get onto the show. This fact was never mentioned on the air, since it would kind of ruin the narrative of thirteen hungry upstarts trying to beat the odds and finally achieve their dream if two of them had already achieved their dreams, then gave them up so they could achieve them again with the cameras rolling. It probably wouldn’t have helped, either, to mention that both Andy and Christina had been handed their WWE contracts without any training. toughenough38b toughenough38a 
toughenough39 Then-current Miss USA Rimah Fakih didn’t have a contract, but as the current Miss USA, not only had the current Miss USA already hosted Raw…
…she had also acted as ring announcer for Tribute to the Troops due to her fame from being current Miss USA. toughenough40
toughenough42 I’m not saying that putting the current Miss USA on the show was a publicity stunt…
…but every single time her name appeared on screen, the graphic read, “Current Miss USA.” toughenough41
toughenough43 Ryan got stuck with the nickname, “Skidmarks” after Bill DeMott decided to call him that on the first day. A demeaning moniker, obviously, but what was the rookie supposed to do? Tell his trainer to take that “Skidmark” nickname and shove it up his ass?
Ryan was always on Bill DeMott’s bad side for being a goof, so much so that cutting down the contestant at every opportunity became a favorite pastime for the trainer. For instance, the former Intercontinental Champion heavily criticized Ryan during a challenge because, although he successfully withstood being pounced by an attack dog and dragged it across the finish line, his running technique and showmanship were way off while the dog hung by its jaws from his arm. toughenough44toughenough96
toughenough45 I’m kidding of course. DeMott never held the Intercontinental title.
Once, Bill DeMott busted down the contestants’ bedroom doors at 6 AM for an unannounced morning run and, seeing them in their beds, asked, “What in the f*** is going on!?” Gee, Bill. I think they might be sleeping. toughenough46
toughenough47 Although these days, all you hear about Bill DeMott is that he’s a physically and verbally abusive bully who was unsafe with his trainees, none of that comes through on Tough Enough (except for a few times when he wished an attack dog had gruesomely mauled “Skidmark”).
A modern-day Terry Garvin, Bill DeMott could destroy your career if you didn’t rub him the right way. toughenough48
toughenough49  As the weeks wore on, many current and past WWE Superstars made guest appearances, including Bret Hart, who used the term “professional wrestler” and was censored accordingly.
Towards the end of the competition, the WWE hopefuls got schooled in the corporate side of the business, taking part in a magazine shoot that highlighted the environment of strict professionalism the company now expects of its employees and talent. By this point, Ryan “Skidmarks” Howe had already been eliminated. toughenough50 
toughenough51a It came down to Luke and Andy, both of whom had their upsides. With more and more women watching wrestling, WWE was becoming an increasingly feminine product. As an incredible douche, Luke would fit right in.
toughenough51c toughenough51b
Admittedly, Luke did blow it when, in promo practice, he told Bill DeMott that he might think he’s a lion, but Luke is the big bad wolf, and he’s going to hunt DeMott down and pull the trigger to crown a new king of the jungle. Holy mixed metaphors, Sherlock! toughenough52 
toughenough53 Then there was Big Andy, whose self-coined “Silent Rage” nickname had licensing potential out the wazoo, from video games to Christmas carols.
In the end, Andy got the nod, and his first order of business was to get slapped by Vince McMahon… toughenough54
toughenough55 …then stunned by Steve Austin, which he did not sell to the boss’s satisfaction.
After a backstage segment the following week, Leavine was sent to FCW for further training, which, you’ll recall, is where he was before he entered Tough Enough to become a “WWE Superstar.” toughenough56

Her knowledge of wrestling would improve only slightly.

A month later, to further make a mockery of the Tough Enough concept, Andy was joined in FCW by Ariane, who, despite being the very worst contestant according to the trainers, got a contract anyway based on her personality alone.
You’d think that the signing of Ariane despite her total failure in the contest would prove that WWE will simply push whoever they want regardless of merit, but you’d be wrong. toughenough21
Oxford Kama It’s whomever.
Today, Ariane is better known as WWE Diva Cameron and star of Total Divas on the E! Network. toughenough58
toughenough59  While many of the runners-up ended up joining WWE’s developmental league, and others, like Matt, Martin, and Ivelisse now wrestle for Lucha Underground, no one who appeared on the show — and were actually trained the Tough Enough way for more than Ariane’s two days — has ever had a match in WWE.
If the competition were a marathon and not a sprint, then Ariane was Rosie Ruiz, riding the subway to the finish line. toughenough60

To recap: Andy Leavine gave up his WWE developmental deal to enter Tough Enough and win a WWE contract. He won, received another contract, and went right back to where he started, never wrestling in a WWE ring. Ten months after winning the competition, Big Andy was released from the company…


…but not before ordering pay-per-view to see last-place Ariane make her Wrestlemania debut.


In that case…

toughenough63See you in Dallas, Hank!

Written by

Art has been writing inductions for WrestleCrap since 2012. He also writes reviews of old Monday Night Raws, posted here every other Sunday. You can find his old reviews at the "How Much Does This Guy Weigh?" blog. Follow him on Twitter @Art0Donnell. Email at:
53 Responses to "Induction: Tough Enough 2011 – Developmental Disorder"
  1. "The Big Cheese" Paul Kraft says:

    The very TITLE of the induction is one of the funniest things I’ve ever read on the site in the past 15 years! Awesome job, Art!

  2. Brian E says:

    This works out so well for Wrestlecrap: a valiant effort to show off potential talent for THE biggest wrestling promotion in the world, and they have nearly nothing to show for it.

    Art, this is another wonderful induction you’ve penned.

  3. Raging_Demons says:

    Oh boy that takes me back. I actually wrote recaps on this show & I mocked it like hell! Also you forgot the moment where Erik Watts was stuck in a tree which was borderline racist by the way and the time our Current Miss USA wanted to take a hit on one of the contestants a=la Goodfellas. I still have those recaps on my computer saved.

    Good job there.

  4. Mister Forth says:

    Since the first eliminated gets a job, I’ll say I liked the IC Elimination Chamber match.

  5. Captain Ron says:

    I can watch Austin’s reaction to the “Melina vs. Alicia Fox” question all day and all night. It’s the little pause and him turning away that makes it.

    • Hulk6785 says:

      Yes! There should’ve been a gif of that in the article somewhere.

    • jjmatador says:

      I never understood this. She was training to be a diva, what is so laughable about her saying she admires two of the existing divas?

      • Larry says:

        If you think about all the great iconic matches in wrestling history, (Dusty-Flair, Steamboat-Savage, Hogan-Rock, etc.) or even great Divas matches, (Trish-Lita), saying “Melina vs. Alicia Fox” was your favorite match of all time is downright insulting to all the great performers in wrestling history.

        • Dave says:

          Exactly. It’s like saying that of all the four- and five-star gourmet restaurants the world has to offer, your all-time favorite is McDonald’s.

        • Guest says:

          There’s nothing wrong with saying Diva Y vs Diva X was you’re favorite match it when you had Melina who was a B- at best vs Alicia Fox who at the time was practiacally fodder is when you lose a degree of credibility in being able to tell quality.

  6. Cameron A. says:

    Given Marty Wright’s WWE career trajectory, I’m surprised Ariane didn’t make her main roster debut toothless, smashing a clock over her head, and eating worms.

  7. Alexandru says:

    Great induction. I agree winning tough Enough means nothing. Hell that’s true with a lot of competition shows in general it’s better to lose it than win. Crap like Tough Enough is pointless and an insult to guys who actually bust their butt to even get a tryout match. Never understood WWE’s obsession with trying to have nonsense like this

  8. Down With OPC says:


    That makes me wonder though…what would the alt-universe PTKFGS of WrestleCrap be?

  9. Doc 902714 says:


    What was so bad about the Melina vs. Alicia Fox match? She meant the one that took place at SummerSlam, right?

    • Rob Brown says:

      I haven’t watched it, so it may actually be good for all I know.

      But Austin was probably thinking “A divas match? A fucking DIVAS match?!” Even if she had said something like “Lita vs. Trish”, he’d have probably had the same reaction.

      I know that a lot of divas matches have been shit, given that Johnny Ace used to hire based on looks (and, allegedly, willingness to sleep with him) rather than talent. There have, however, been some good ones. But WWE has kind of conditioned its fans (and, apparently, some of its own talent) to look down on female performers and the work they do. That’s why their matches were known as “piss breaks” for so long.

      Austin may also have been upset that she’d rate that match above his own matches with Rock. Never mind that as somebody new to wrestling she may have never even SEEN any of Austin’s matches.

      My feeling is that while it’s definitely not what I would’ve answered, she was doing what she was supposed to and giving an honest answer. At worst it means that she has bad taste, and what kind of reason is that to grant or deny somebody employment? (If anything should have kept her from getting a job, it should have been her in-ring ability.)

      • Anonymous says:

        His response was 100% justified. She named an obscure match only because her cousin was in it. NO ONE else would have EVER picked that.

      • Adam says:

        I think Austin was just stunned at the line of B.S she tried spinning. If some throw-away five minute match from the year before is the only match you can think of, when asked to back up “wrestling’s a new passion of mine”, then the only thing you’re passionate about is getting on TV.

        • Idi 'Big Daddy' Amin says:

          Absolutely. The “new passion” thing is definitely what pissed Austin off the most.

    • Si says:

      In case anyone had wondered, according to Cagematch Melina and Alicia Fox had eight one-on-one televised matches, all won by Melina, the last of which was about six months before Tough Enough began. The highest profile and longest (five and a half minutes) was at Summerslam 2010, which featured barely any Alicia offence and was given a quarter of a star by Meltzer.

  10. Down With OPC says:

    Also, no mention of Rima Fakih getting arrested for drunk driving?

    • Jimbolian says:

      Didn’t Cameron get busted for DUI as well? Or was that the other Funkadactyl?

      • Si says:

        No, that was Cameron while she was still just a Funkadactyl, and after lying about her name and employer she refused to take the breathalyzer test and tried to bribe the arresting officer to the tune of $10,000. She was suspended by WWE for fifteen days.

  11. Kyle Fields says:

    This is seriously one of the best inductions ever. Art, never leave. K?

  12. JSWH says:

    “I’m kidding of course. DeMott never held the Intercontinental title.”

    That’s GOLD, Jerry!

  13. Eddie Mac says:

    I feel the need to mention this: the last two Tough Enough winners have a total of one main roster match (Daniel Puder, 2005 Royal Rumble).

  14. Grippage says:

    I struggle to remember anybody who actually benefited directly from Tough Enough and cultivated a WWE career out of it. The only one really was Johnny Nitro/Morrison, and even then he never mentioned Tough Enough once he was brought to TV. Mike Mizanin was always going to stand a chance because he had previous minor fame from reality shows, loads of charisma and genuine (often overlooked) passion for professional wrestling and a desire to improve, so Tough Enough really didn’t help. If anything it hindered him as he had to go through the rigmarole of going through that process, losing the popular vote to someone nobody remembers, being reintroduced as a contrived face that nobody liked and had the stigma of being a former Tough Enough contestant that didn’t even win, and finally being allowed to let his talent shine after a while. And of course, his main event run didn’t last long, led to a Wrestlemania main event which originally ended in a DQ and was only used to build the following year’s main event while taking all the attention away from him despite him still holding the title at the end of the evening, and it hasn’t been attempted with him since as they don’t seem to know whether he works better as a heel or a face.

    NXT is what Tough Enough should have been. I don’t know why they’d even bother with Tough Enough any more.

    • Si says:

      Well, Ryback was in series 4, you could just about count Josh Matthews, and Chris Nowinski’s post-wrestling career got WWE to fundamentally change their approach to health issues (um, Punk lawsuit and the reasons for Daniel Bryan’s absence pending)

      Oh, one minor note: Cameron isn’t on Total Divas any more. It’s like an unfolding scale of uselessness.

    • Guest says:

      You mean the original NXT format where WWE took guys they had signed to developmental contracts (many of whom had already had at least 5 years of wrestling experience) and threw them on a elimination style show where the object was to get a WWE contract (actually an excuse to show up on the main roster) and where most of the contestants and even some of the winners are no longer still with the company?

  15. Rob Brown says:

    I remember YouTubing Matt’s elimination, not liking it and, yeah, getting the sense that the poor guy was in a no-win situation. Obviously he was the most qualified of the bunch, but I wondered if WWE had put him on the show just to kick him off. You know, as if to say “You might have made a name for yourself in the MINOR LEAGUES, but that doesn’t mean you’re good enough for WWE!”

    (Obviously their attitude toward indy wrestlers isn’t like that today, but 2011 was closer to the time period wherein Daniel Bryan was constantly buried on commentary and Low Ki spent NXT Season Two getting humiliated and being jobbed out afterwards despite winning.)

    Reading more about it here, I’ve just gotta shake my head. Austin was telling a guy he should’ve mouthed off to DeMott? In a competition where all the contestants were apparently expected to call the veterans “sir” every sentence?

    I don’t get why anybody with any self-respect would want to work for that company. The money isn’t good unless you’re a top guy, what with WWE making talent pay for a lot of their travel expenses out of their own pocket. You don’t get the benefits you would in most other lines of work, and if you’re a wrestler then you REALLY need health benefits. But on top of that, as demonstrated by this induction, WWE treats you like a bitch if you’re a new guy and they expect you to just take it like a bitch and be grateful for the abuse.

    And if you think you can reach top guy status if you pay your dues and work hard enough, getting rich and getting respect, well, no. Merit means next to nothing. Just ask Dolph Ziggler, who might be leaving the company soon because he’s finally had enough. I sure won’t blame him if he decides to.

    • Anonymous says:

      Money is actually FAR higher than they can EVER possibly make for any other company. That’s literally the ONLY reason anyone goes to WWE.

      • Rob Brown says:

        Really? That’s why AJ Styles and the Young Bucks both said that they could make more money on the indies and in Japan, then?

        Working for WWE does not make you rich, necessarily. If you had read JTG’s book and read what other former employees had to say (such as Tyler Reks), you would know this.

        As JTG writes, during WrestleMania weekend, talent is encouraged to bring their families to whatever city the show is being held in. WWE only pays for the hotel rooms. The wrestlers themselves have to pay for airfare, rental car fees, parking, food, etc. If you go to the HOF ceremony, you also have to pay for formal attire, so there’s that as well. And there’s a lot more.

        That’s why JTG was so upset when he got his check–which actually turned out to be a combined paycheck for both that ‘Mania weekend as well as a tour in Brazil–and saw how low it was. The check did not even come close to covering the expenses talent incurred upon themselves to be at those shows, so essentially everybody but the top guys had done all that traveling and worked those shows for ZERO DOLLARS. JTG wanted a word with Hunter about this, he kept trying to talk to Hunter, and Hunter kept on brushing him off, so finally he took to Twitter and vented, not giving a shit any more.

        At the end of the book in a Q&A section, JTG writes that he’d still like to get rich, because he definitely didn’t get rich wrestling.

        You’re probably looking at the amount of money WWE pays its employees each year without also factoring in how much money it COSTS those very same employees to be part of WWE. A wrestler who can pick and choose their own bookings (like an actual independent contractor instead of being one in name only) could probably net more money–I’m not saying that they definitely would, but they could. For one thing, if wrestling was something they did every week or so instead of almost every day, they’d have enough time for a more lucrative job.

        I was once told by somebody who’d know that a wrestler who is a veteran of Chikara–I won’t say who, other than to say that it isn’t Mike Quackenbush–happens to have a very well-paying 9-5 job outside of wrestling. He doesn’t wrestle to pay the rent or put food on the table, he wrestles because putting on a mask and wrestling is fun for him, definitely moreso than his main job. I’d say that there’s a good chance that he has more money at the end of a typical year than the average lower card WWE worker, perhaps even more money than the average WWE midcarder.

        I also happen to know that the workers in NXT get paid about the same as they would if they stayed in the indies. They aren’t in NXT because they make significantly more money, they’re in NXT because it’s a stepping stone to the WWE main roster. If they make it to the WWE main roster then they might wind up becoming the next John Cena or CM Punk and making that big money–but even if they don’t, being in WWE gets you noticed. Millions of people see you on TV, and that raises your profile so that if you ever leave the company promoters will be more eager to book you and willing to pay you more.

        • Thun says:

          Think you just sumed up the reason people join WWE, man. Because as much as it isn’t exactly the best place to work, if you get big, you’re kinda done for the rest of your life as long as you know how to handle your finances well enough. Problem is getting big on that company, which is funny because the more marketable people, the better for the company itself. But they (most of the time, at least) seem like they want to be counter-productive.

          • Rob Brown says:

            I agree with that assessment, and it sucks.

            If WWE accidentally strikes gold–if a wrestler that Vince isn’t personally impressed by catches on with fans and they are very vocal about wanting him to be pushed–I won’t say that they ALWAYS squander that opportunity, but they squander it more often than not. Because usually they have just one or two guys they want to build around. If you’re not a guy they want to build around, then your default role seems to be jobbing to that guy. See: Dolph Ziggler, Bray Wyatt, Dean Ambrose, Rusev, Cesaro, Wade Barrett, etc.

            Maybe things will improve when Hunter takes over. Not that Hunter is without his own flaws, mind you, but in NXT they have made multiple people look good instead of just one or two. Zayn, Owens, Balor, Itami, the Ascension before their callup, Neville before his, etc.

            • Thun says:

              That’s my hope. Hunter isn’t exactly what I’d call a savior or anything of the kind but, maybe, just maybe he has enough sense regarding stars and whatnot that Vince has far long lost. At worst, there’s always Lucha Underground.

        • bigred says:

          JTG needs to hire a better accountant. Almost every expense you mentioned is tax deductible.

          • Guest says:

            Plus there’s the fact that JTG is a nobody who most certainly doesn’t come off sounding bitter and biased as hell about his tenure WWE.

        • Buzz Line says:

          A lot of people who want to work for WWE were fans since they were children. And some people who weren’t necessarily WWE fans are fans of wrestlers who did end up there. You might not necessarily know much about Raw but you probably know wrestlers like Chris Jericho, Eddie Guerrero, Rey Misterio Jr, Steve Austin, Hulk Hogan, ect. Then sometimes a wrestler is making more money than WWE is willing to pay them, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they WWE won’t simply offer continually large sums of money until they bite. Took four years to get Mistico, who went from the second highest paid pro wrestler on the continent to the laughing stock that was Sin Cara. Took eight years to get Bryan Danielson, whom they promptly buried as soon as he left developmental but ended up becoming the most over wrestler they had since the nineties despite it. Fourteen years to get AJ Styles, let’s see how that works out. WWE still has Madison Square garden, they should be able to outbid any other wrestling promotion if they REALLY want someone, meaning only those who refuse to sign on principal or can’t put up with the schedule are immune from their pull. And Lesnar proves they’re willing to relax on the latter too.

  16. KOKitten says:

    The really sad thing is, I recall this being more entertaining than the rest of WWE’s programming at the time.

    WWE in the spring of 2011 was truly horrible. Heel Michael Cole was still taking up tons of time every show and having horrible matches against JR on PPV; WWE tried to push Alex Riley as a main eventer; R Truth was booked to lose his match against John Cena at Capitol Punishment by having a kid in the audience throw water in his face; a fake Obama showed up at Capitol Punishment. Terrible.

  17. Anonymous says:

    This kind of sums up everything wrong with WWE.

  18. Mike says:

    I want to see New Japan Pro Wrestling do a version of a Tough Enough because that would be interesting to watch knowing their tradition of treating “Young Boys”(new wrestlers). Knowing their policies, it would at least feel like they earned that spot on the roster.

    Brilliant induction Art as it summed up everything wrong with the Tough Enough concept. If this was ever truly any of the contestant’s dream, they would’ve at least gone to a wrestling school.

    Also I have to say that Matt Cross won out in the long run with Lucha Underground.

    • Buzz Line says:

      Half of Tough Enough 5’s contestants had not only been to wrestling school but were already wrestling. This wasn’t the 2004 Diva Search.

  19. Gavin says:

    This is an awesome and hilarious article, but one thing I have to comment on is the line about how Andy got criticized for that stunner. I get that it’s supposed to play into the narrative that every decision the top brass made was a stupid one, but in this instance they had a point. I mean, he did a great job taking Vince’s slap and the initial sell of that stunner was perfectly fine, as shown in that gif.

    The key word is “initial.”

    Immediately after taking it, he rolled to the outside, landed in a crouching position, shook his head as if he was slightly dizzy, stood up, reached into the ring to shake Austin’s hand and walked to the back.

    I’d be pissed too.

  20. Geoff says:

    The thing is, the WWE got the short end of the stick. With Naomi she has the personality of a wafer, she isn’t even that good in the ring. With Ivelisse, I see her on Lucha Underground every week and she continually proves herself. She even goes so far as to outdo the men she is with. I’m more impressed with her than any Diva that WWE has (minus AJ Lee). They let Ivelisse go and are probably kicking themselves for doing it.

  21. nomangang says:

    Austin: What’s your favorite match?
    Apu: Actually I have numerous favorite matches based on many different factors including heat, workrate, angle development…
    Austin: Hey. Just…just say “Flair vs. Steamboat”.
    Apu: Flair vs. Steamboat it is, sir!

  22. Caveman says:

    Isn’t Matt Cross that rapist from Lucha Underground?

  23. NightmareNear says:

    You do know that Guile and Chun-Li’s voice actors are married in real life right?

  24. Jerichoholic Ninja says:

    In theory, Tough Enough isn’t a bad idea for WWE. NXT is great, but not perfect (look at the talent gap between the guys from indies and the newer guys and you’ll see that there may be a problem when the current NXT stars are all called up) and WWE can’t always rely on snatching stars up from the independents. So it’s good for them to try to find new pools of talent to draw from, and they have managed to find some solid mid-carders (and The Miz) in the past.

    Of course, the problem is that their goal is to create “entertainment” rather than find possible talent, so they instead pick attractive attention hogs or muscle bound freaks while ignoring the charismatic ones.

    This season was a disaster. Even before the show ended, guys like Dave Meltzer were predicting that none of the finalists would actually end up on the main roster. When the top name to emerge is Cameron, you know you’ve screwed up.

  25. Adam X says:

    TE 1 gave us Maven’s eyebrows and Nidia who developed into pretty solid sidekick to Jamie Noble and TE3 gave us John Morrison and that Matt kid who also had tons of potential.

    TE2 gave us one of the best botches of all time.

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